On The Ground In Oiltown, USA

On The Ground In Oiltown, USA

Weld County, Colorado, has more active wells than any county in the nation. As energy development transforms the landscape, people and wildlife are acutely feeling the effects. Can industry and conservationists reach a compromise?

By Michelle Nijhuis
Published: 12/16/2013

Rutledge has been discussing a similar plan with Colorado officials, arguing that effective sage-grouse protections at the state level can help avoid the less flexible and further-reaching protections of a federal Endangered Species Act listing. But the state has been slow to act. "It's very clearly the same issue here as it is everywhere else," says Rutledge. "The birds can't handle the level of disturbance and fragmentation that comes with uncontrolled gas drilling." Rutledge points out that an effective plan is as good for the industry as it is for wildlife, providing some regulatory certainty in a chaotic landscape. "We can do this and have gas, too," he says.

In Greeley, Sara Barwinski sees daily evidence of the need for compromise--for the sake of both wildlife and human health.

Speak Up!

For the latest on this issue, go to Conservation Colorado, a statewide environmental group that has been working on energy issues for years, and Audubon Rockies.

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Go to Skeptical Science.org

Go to Skeptical Science.org online tri level science reporting with links to the actual articles.. this site gets you to the recent research which documents that 97% of climate scientists see human caused emissions as a major factor in climate warming via greenhouse, interacting with water vapor (clouds) and solar events and earth's orbital features, etc. This study's methods ---eg., criteria for 'climate scientist" sample inclusion, criteria for assessing scientist's answer on the questions, etc, was carefully considered to control for sample and rater bias etc. The methods are discussed quite openly, debated with sci commenters who are obvious science geeks...This site also amply discusses the much cited decade - or 14 years - of halt in climate warming. skepticalscience.org. at anyone's fingertips, user friendly to non-scientists, but very detailed version and 'medium' versions offered for less science sophisticated readers are in more depth than most articles one finds.

Responsible energy

Responsible energy development and protecting the environment is certainly an attainable balance. And, in fact, hydraulic fracturing has established a strong track record as a safe, scientific practice. In addition to a number of voluntary steps the energy industry takes to safeguard the environment, hydraulic fracturing is subject to rigid regulatory oversight at the federal, state and local levels.

With respect to concerns about groundwater and air pollution, it’s important to have the facts on these issues: 1) In more than 60 years and over one million well projects there has never been a single confirmed incident of groundwater contamination, as verified by the EPA. 2) C02 emissions are at near 20-year lows.

Interestingly, a recent poll showed the majority of Coloradans are in favor of hydraulic fracturing. So clearly there is an understanding that this technique is safe and beneficial for our energy future and our economy. As this conversation continues, we believe there will be a greater understanding of the balance that can be achieved between energy development and environmental protections.

-Renee, Energy Citizens Coordinator

Responsible energy

Responsible energy development and protecting the environment is certainly an attainable balance. And, in fact, hydraulic fracturing has established a strong track record as a safe, scientific practice. In addition to a number of voluntary steps the energy industry takes to safeguard the environment, hydraulic fracturing is subject to rigid regulatory oversight at the federal, state and local levels.

With respect to concerns about groundwater and air pollution, it’s important to have the facts on these issues: 1) In more than 60 years and over one million well projects there has never been a single confirmed incident of groundwater contamination, as verified by the EPA. 2) C02 emissions are at near 20-year lows.

Interestingly, a recent poll showed the majority of Coloradans are in favor of hydraulic fracturing. So clearly there is an understanding that this technique is safe and beneficial for our energy future and our economy. As this conversation continues, we believe there will be a greater understanding of the balance that can be achieved between energy development and environmental protections.

-Renee, Energy Citizens, Coordinator

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